Union vie to extend winning streak, host Rapids
A surging Philadelphia Union squad will be seeking its fourth consecutive victory on Saturday when it hosts the struggling Colorado Rapids at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa.
Philadelphia (3-4-4) is seventh in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference with 13 points. The Union are three points behind the sixth-place New York Red Bulls and 12 in back of first-place Toronto FC.
Colorado (2-7-1) is last in the Western Conference. The Rapids trail the 10th-place Seattle Sounders by three points and sit a full 15 behind conference-leading Sporting Kansas City.
Philadelphia seems to have righted itself since going 0-4-4 to start the season, winning three in a row and posting four consecutive shutouts. The Union are coming off a 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo.
Union coach Jim Curtin said his team's confidence is growing by the day despite the sluggish start to the season.
"The players in the locker room still believed we had a really good team and we weren't that far off," Curtin said. "Yeah, is the shutout streak a little abnormal and something that is maybe a bit of an outlier? Yes, but we knew we could score goals. We knew we had a group that was willing to fight and you're seeing now with it comes with confidence, and they're not tired right now, trust me. None of them are tired because they're happy as can be."
Philadelphia midfielder Chris Pontius said he is not surprised by the team's turnaround.
"I've been on a bad team," Pontius said. "I know what a bad team feels like. I knew we weren't an 0-4-4 team. We just kept plugging away. We didn't change much. We showed up to work, rolled up our sleeves and got the job done."
Colorado is reeling from a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Fire on Wednesday. Colorado coach Pablo Mastroeni was disappointed with the result four days after his team posted an encouraging 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
When asked to share his thoughts on the upcoming game against the Union, Mastroeni said his focus isn't on Philadelphia.
"We're not worried about Philly -- we're worried about ourselves," he said. "You can't win 3-0 at the weekend, playing the way we did (against San Jose), and then come here (to Chicago) and lay an egg. And so from that perspective, we've got to get that part right and I promise you that we'll put a performance together at the weekend that's worthy of three points."
Updated May 19, 2017